Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Uncovering Grief: Sharing Wisdom April 5, 2012

By Shannon Calder

When we are forced to live in the midst of grief we find ways of coping that defy the everyday. Robert Romanyshyn (1999), psychology professor and author of The Soul in Grief writes, “Loss is a season of the soul – its winter – and, like the winter of the world, a moment whose time must have its place. I could neither hurry nor avoid these rhythms of soul any more than I could hurry or ignore those of the world” (p. 5).  Slowing down and feeling the rhythm of pain and loss forces us to sit in it like a small child in a bathtub whose water has gone cold but who cannot get out alone. Telling the story of your grief can assist you in getting through the utter devastation you feel. In this forum it has the added benefit of communing with people who understand. Romanyshyn further points out, “In this landscape there really are no maps, no markers to plot the course of grief. Here I was forced to find my own way” (p. 6).

As you may or may not know, but I am here to tell you, there is only one way to go through your grief. Your way is the way. I am here to start discussion and educate you and hopefully steer you in a few directions you may not have thought to take. Do not mistake that for your own wisdom. What fuels your healing is you. So lets focus for a second on what helps you grieve? Tell us what has worked for you. You have wisdom to help your friends, share it.

Be Well,

Shannon

Contact me at: Shannon [at] lifewithoutbaby [dot] com.

Resource: The Soul in Grief :Love, Death and transformation. by Robert Romanyshyn, writer, teacher and author.

Shannon Calder is a writer, psychotherapist, and survivor of grief. She has an MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and is currently in a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology. She works in private practice treating people suffering from a wide spectrum of symptoms. 

 

Energy to Share October 10, 2011

This weekend I put up my Halloween decorations for the first time in maybe five years. My neighbor (who lives in the house behind us) was so excited that she came out to help.

My neighbor and I function on a similar spiritual wavelength and the reason for her excitement has less to do with skull lights and flashing corpses and more to do with her understanding of the significance of me pulling things out of storage and making an effort. She knows much of my story and she’s watched me pull back from the things that used to bring me joy­­–hosting dinner parties, nurturing my vegetable garden, and celebrating the holidays with others. Last year, Mr. Fab and I barely celebrated Christmas at all. My neighbor understands that decorating for Halloween is a sign I’m on the mend.

And I think she’s right. When you’re trying to heal, trying to sort out a mess and get back on track, it’s hard to put energy into anyone or anything but yourself. Getting into the holiday spirit requires a lot of energy to be poured out in other directions. I haven’t had that energy to spare for a long time, but this year, I think it’s back. And I’m glad. I’ve missed it.

For the first time in a long time, I’m really looking forward to the holidays. My friend from England will be here for Thanksgiving and my mum will be here for Christmas. I’m planning what to cook, and I’m getting a tree. But most of all I’m looking forward to sharing the holiday festivities with other people, and pouring positive energy out, instead of turning my energy in on myself.

 

Finding Your Identity After Infertility April 15, 2011

Some time ago I mentioned that I was working on putting together some seminars to deal with life after infertility, and I’m very pleased to announce that the first one has been scheduled for June!

I’ve been working with a friend who is an amazing therapist and writer. Using her experience in dealing with loss and my own experience with infertility, plus the information I’ve learned from you through this blog, all bundled together with our mutual  knowledge of creative pursuits as therapy, we’ve developed a series of seminars called Healing Through Creativity.


The topic of the first seminar is Finding Your Identity After Infertility. From my own experience, I’ve learned how important it is to rediscover who we are after imagining ourselves in the role of mother for so long. This seminar aims to start that process.

I’m very excited about this new venture and it feels to me like something I’m supposed to be doing.

Here’s the information for the first seminar in Los Angeles, and a link to the website for more details:

Finding Your Identity After Infertility

Sunday, June 26, 2011

8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

DoubleTree Hotel, LAX/El Segundo

 

The plan is to run a series of seminars covering different topics and to eventually make them available elsewhere. Watch this space.

 

Facebook’s Skewed Perspective April 1, 2011

As much fun as I had profiling some of great Cheroes, it’s time to get back to regular programming, and as usual, there’s no shortage of material.

 

In the news this week was a warning from doctors about teen depression and Facebook. Listed among the “unique aspects of Facebook that make it a particularly tough social landscape to navigate” were the “in-your-face status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times,” leaving some kids to “feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.”

 

If you’re childless-not-by-choice and spend any time at all on Facebook, these painful feelings might sound all too familiar. There’s nothing quite like a pregnancy announcement or cute kid pictures to remind you of what you don’t have.

 

But take heart!

 

The report is very quick to point out that Facebook “provides a skewed perspective of what’s really going on.” I think that’s true. While there are some people who clearly don’t give a second (or even a first) thought to what they post on Facebook, I know that I am very aware of how many people can read my posts and the different levels of “friendship” I have out there. Because of this, I’m always careful to manage my public persona.

 

If I’m having a crappy day and life is just the pits, I stay off Facebook; I don’t post my misery to the world. On the other hand, the pictures I do post are usually of my best days, out in the sunshine, with my husband, in some exciting locale, living a dream life!

 

I think that the majority of people post this way – we put our best Facebook faces forward – so it’s easy to look at a small sliver, a snapshot of someone else’s life and see it as perfect. In other words, it’s easy to look at a portrait of a happy family or read a jubilant pregnancy announcement and perceive that someone else has EVERYTHING we want.

 

But life just isn’t as simple as that.

 

If you’re at the stage in your journey where seeing some else’s children or baby news tips you over the edge, I strongly recommend giving Facebook the elbow for a while. But that’s just my opinion. There’s been a really great discussion on the forums about how to deal with Facebook. Take a look to see how other readers dealing with it.